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Arianespace, ESA Announce New Launch Contract

By | June 17, 2019
Artist rendition of Ariane 64 ESA

Artist rendition of Ariane 64. Photo: ESA

Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed a launch services contract with an Ariane launch vehicle for Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE). JUICE is the first large-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program, and its mission is devoted to completing tour of the Jupiter system. The mission will spend at least three years making detailed observations of the giant gaseous planet Jupiter and in-depth studies of three of its largest moons as well as the potentially ocean-bearing satellites, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto.

The JUICE mission will utilize an Ariane 5 or an Ariane 64 launch vehicle, with the launch period starting in mid-2022 – depending of the final launch slot from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America). With the currently-nominal launch window in May 2022 the mission would end in June 2033. Airbus Defense and Space is developing and building the JUICE spacecraft.

“Arianespace is honored to be awarded this new scientific mission from ESA, which will advance our understanding of the Universe,” Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël said. “Less than a year after the launch of BepiColombo to Mercury, we have won the launch contract for the JUICE mission to Jupiter’s moons, further confirmation of Arianespace’s ability to ensure Europe’s independent access to space for all types of missions. We are once again marshaling all of our strengths and capabilities to support Europe’s spaceborne ventures, with a launch services offering based on Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 so we can deliver the availability and flexibility needed by ESA for its latest emblematic mission.”